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Lars Ramcke (Thunder Axe) (StormWarrior)

Interview with Lars Ramcke (Thunder Axe) from StormWarrior
by Alex Farmakis at 25 August 2004, 7:32 PM

StormWarrior's a Speed Power band from Germany. Their style? Their style's pretty much like Helloween of the 80s and this is something quite distinguishing in terms of identity. Alex had the chance to interview singer (and guitarist) Lars Ramcke (a.k.a. Thunder Axe) via e-mail. Here's what he had to say about their resemblance to early Helloween, their relationship with Gamma Ray's frontman Kai Hansen and more!

Recently you released your new album entitled Northern Rage. I personally think that it is a great album. What do you think the people’s response to this album will be?

So far we got a lot of good reactions. I think all who liked the first album won’t be disappointed by the new one.

Your music sounds a lot like Helloween in the Helloween EP and in Walls of Jericho. I hadn’t listened to a band playing this specific style of music in many years. What was the thing that pushed you to revive this sound?

It was the best era of Helloween and no one else was able to capture this pure, rough and aggressive sound again. All of these bands naming Helloween as their influence orientate on the Keeper albums and sound tralala. But for me Heavy Metal has to be aggressive and dirty as well.

Kai Hansen is responsible for the production of your album and also for most of the technical elaboration of the album. Did you know him personally from the past or did he just listen to your music and decided to help you?

I know Kai for quite a while now. I got in contact with him when we did our first demotape some years ago and we stayed in contact until we got the deal with Remedy Records and Kai produced our first album in 2002. In the meantime we have our rehearsal room in the same bunker as Gamma Ray have so we meet nearly every day and have some drinks together. We work together also beside the album productions by lending equipment or getting new whiskey, hehe.

What are your musical influences? Which are your favorite bands?

Beside the early Helloween and Running Wild I would also name Bathory because of the atmosphere Quorthon created with masterpieces like Hammerheart and of course Manowar  and Judas Priest. Else I love nearly all kinds of eightees Heavy Metal like OZ, Agent Steel, Savage Grace, Heavy Load, Witchkiller, just to name a few.

Do all the members of the band contribute to the composition process?

I write most of the material on my own and arrange a lot with our drummer. Especially the vocal arrangement we do together. But for the next album I think the other two guys will also contribute some ideas.

In the Stormwarrior album except for Kai Hansen you have also cooperated with Markus  Groâkopf for the arrangement of Heavy Metal Is The Law for the digipack version of the album. Do you intend to do any other arrangements of Helloween songs in the future and cooperate again with any of them?

I don’t know, there’s nothing planned like this so far but maybe sometimes we could do something together for a live show. Would be worth a thought.

Is there any chance we’ll ever be seeing you perform live in Greece?

I hope so. We need to get on a tour as soon as possible everywhere in Europe but sadly there’s nothing confirmed so far.

Which of your songs do you like playing in your live performances more?

Heroic Death makes a lot of fun because of all the guitar duells, Bound by the Oathe has a good Hail-Part in the middle and works always great live. Else Defenders of Metal because it’s one of the first songs that was written for Stormwarrior and Iron Prayers as the last song to party.

The cover artwork on both your albums is fantastic. Was it your inspiration or was it Uwe Karczewski’s or did you both help in the creation of this cover artwork?

Well we told him what should be on the cover, then he drew a rough version and we decided about changes or additional details before he painted the final version. So we worked together in a way.

When you are not in the studio or on tour what do you do for a living? Do you have jobs? Are you students?

We’re all students with smaller jobs to get some money together. I study audio engineering, Falko studies (I forgot) and works in a guitar store in Hamburg, Jussi studies biotechnology and Dave something with speeches.

How difficult is it for someone to find your demos or your 7? Is there any chance you’ll re-release them?

I’m quite sure that the demotapes won’t be released again because nearly all of the songs came togther for the first album. The second 7 had been as bonus songs on the Heavy Metal Fire EP already, so I don’t think it would make sense to rerelease them again.

You dedicated Northern Rage in Quorthon’s memory. How do you feel about this great loss and what was your relationship with his music?

It’s sad that he died so young because I think he would have released some other great masterpieces in the future. He was the master of arranging the lyrics that way that one feels like living in the Northland at the viking age. Blood Fire Death, Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods are some of my all-time favourites. Bathory always had song structures that were different from other musicians and sounded in their way extremely deep along with the glorious lyrics. So I hope to meet him one day in the hall up high…

As we are an online Magazine, we would like to ask you what your relationship with the Internet is.

After some problems I got used to it and used the right way it can bring a lot of promotion for bands without deal or without money. So I would say it’s very helpful for the international Metal scene.

In conclusion I would like you to send a message to all our readers worldwide!

Keep one eye open for the ancient original cultures and support the underground!


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